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Infect Immun. 2009 Sep;77(9):3850-6. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00369-09. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

Antigen-specific memory B-cell responses to Vibrio cholerae O1 infection in Bangladesh.

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International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Centre for Health and Population Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Cholera, caused by Vibrio cholerae, is a noninvasive dehydrating enteric disease with a high mortality rate if untreated. Infection with V. cholerae elicits long-term protection against subsequent disease in countries where the disease is endemic. Although the mechanism of this protective immunity is unknown, it has been hypothesized that a protective mucosal response to V. cholerae infection may be mediated by anamnestic responses of memory B cells in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. To characterize memory B-cell responses to cholera, we enrolled a cohort of 39 hospitalized patients with culture-confirmed cholera and evaluated their immunologic responses at frequent intervals over the subsequent 1 year. Memory B cells to cholera antigens, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and the protein antigens cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) and toxin-coregulated pilus major subunit A (TcpA) were enumerated using a method of polyclonal stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells followed by a standard enzyme-linked immunospot procedure. All patients demonstrated CTB, TcpA, and LPS-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG)and IgA memory responses by day 90. In addition, these memory B-cell responses persisted up to 1 year, substantially longer than other traditional immunologic markers of infection with V. cholerae. While the magnitude of the LPS-specific IgG memory B-cell response waned at 1 year, CTB- and TcpA-specific IgG memory B cells remained significantly elevated at 1 year after infection, suggesting that T-cell help may result in a more durable memory B-cell response to V. cholerae protein antigens. Such memory B cells could mediate anamnestic responses on reexposure to V. cholerae.

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